DEARBORN - In 1934, Ford revealed the all new Rotunda exhibit hall at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago, Ill. The Rotunda stood 110-feet tall and was designed to look like a set of transmission gears. More than 12 million visitors toured the Rotunda and took in an array of automotive feats, including a historic Egyptian chariot, other historic vehicles, modern cars of the era, an assembly line and a replica of famous roads from around the world.
The Rotunda proved to be so popular, following the fair it was moved to Dearborn where it opened as Ford’s visitor center in 1936. Postcards of the Rotunda exhibit, such as the one featured here, are one example of the many mementos and keepsakes that came out of the World’s Fair.
Ford’s Engine Division and Powertrain Operations retiree Dan Davis’ father, Orville W. Davis, worked as a window washer at the Rotunda exhibit during the 1934 World’s Fair. Davis shared a photo of the identification badge his father used while on the job.
Another find from the 1934 World’s Fair file was this coin created especially for the event sent in by Ford Rouge Transportation retiree Dick Esper.
Esper also shared the photo of a coin printed more recently to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Henry Ford’s birth, which takes place this month.
Many coins have worked their way into Ford history. One of the most well-known perhaps was the Henry Ford Cent, which was featured in last week’s Collectible Corner article. This coin resembled the typical penny, but featured Henry Ford instead of Abraham Lincoln and replaced “In God We Trust,” with “Help the other Fellow.”
Our last submission for the week, while not a piece of World’s Fair memorabilia, was just as fun because it had us imagining Ford mangers dancing in the halls. Ford Product Test Technician Thomas Miller sent in pictures of old 78 rpm phonograph records he says used to be played at the south end of Ford’s EEE/POEE building to teach managers how to dance. The records are stamped, “Recorded at the Ford Engineering Laboratory, Dearborn, Michigan.”
Thank you to all who submitted photos and stories. We’ll share more Ford treasures in next week’s edition of Collectible Corner.
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Submit a photo of your Ford collectable, with a brief description, to email@example.com.
Then, each Thursday we’ll spotlight an employee submission along with pictures of other items from Ford’s history.